The province of Nova Scotia marks the 3rd Monday of February each year to celebrate our heritage. Heritage Day 2021 celebrates the ultimate contribution of Lieutenant Edward Francis Arab (1915-1944).
Wanting better opportunities for his family, Edward’s grandfather was one of the first people to leave his hometown of Diman in Lebanon and to settle in Nova Scotia. Edward was born on September. 15th, 1915 to Sadie and Louis Arab, and was the eldest of 5 siblings. He attended Saint Patrick’s Boy’s School, where he graduated in 1931. Edward was fortunate enough to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in 1935, followed by a Dalhousie Law School degree in 1937. Not only did he graduate with honours, but he was also the youngest in his class!
Upon graduation, Edward was invited to join a law firm. Having an entrepreneurial mind, he opened his own law firm where his cases focused on equal opportunities, regardless of ethnicity or household income. Edward was proud of his Lebanese heritage and founded a club that still exists today, The Canadian Lebanon Society of Halifax. The society was founded for Lebanese people to gather together and feel a connection to their homeland.
Edward was also proud of being Canadian, which led him to enlist into World War II. In 1942, he became a lieutenant in the Lincoln and Welland Regiment. After training for 2 years, Edward landed in France on September 3rd, 1944 and prepared to fight in the Battle of the Scheldt.
While in battle, Edward was wounded. He received medical attention, but then being his courageous and determined self, he returned to the battle field. On October 25th, 1944, Edward was killed in action fighting for our country. The Battle of the Scheldt lasted until November 8th, 1944 of which 6 500 Canadians lost their lives.
Edward’s family was heartbroken upon receiving the telegram. In 1949, the city of Halifax honoured him by naming a street after him that exists today, Edward Arab Avenue.